a love story (reminders of life while spring cleaning)
In 2007 a man contacted the library and asked for our help in finding a lost love. The man was in his 70s and was looking to track down a woman whom he had met in his elementary school days in Syracuse, NY. The man lost track of his love when her family moved to Towson, MD but found each other again and were in and out of each others lives until the mid 1950s. Through various circumstances, however, they were never together, despite their desire to be.
And then she fell off the radar completely. And for decades. And later in life, having had this woman in his head for so long – this woman for whom he had written poetry, a song, and had many recurring dreams of for years- he wanted to find her again.
He reached out to the local library in the community where he last knew his love to reside.
I don’t remember how but somewhere along the line, I was pulled in to the process and was given his story.
I have a file folder with photocopies of his letters to us, looking for help in his search. They are polite retellings of a man’s life filled with hope that he will find his life long love. I have a copy of her 1952 yearbook photo and a photo of this handsome man in uniform in 1933 and again in 2006.
I have the notes i scribbled to myself while i was on the hunt for this woman who had no known married name or whereabouts. Trails kept going cold.
I have the original newspaper article about this search that piqued the interest of the county records office that got them in on the hunt.
I also have the follow-up article that was published in the local newspaper when we found her. She had died suddenly in 2000. Not the end to the love story you’d hope for, but closure nonetheless.
“I can go forward now with much peace inside,” he wrote. “[Her] passing has only made heaven a more beautiful place for we who will one day follow.”
“I feel a bit of sadness in learning that she and I can’t for a day or two set and reminisce our lives. But I have been blessed many times over in knowing and loving her.”
And I am sad myself to say that I now also have in my file the obituary of this man who carried such love in his heart his whole life and died himself in May 2012.
His obituary tells the story of a man dedicated to his country, his family, and who knew that the people in your life were what was important. This obituary that tells only a small part of the story of a man who I knew only another small part of.
We learn though, that the woman’s daughter knew of the man and her mother’s love for him. And because we share what is important to us by the stories we tell, we know that while they were never able to be together, their love was real and something that maybe sustained them both throughout their lives.
And now, each survived by children from their own, separate lives, their love continues to take the only path it could through time and now lives on in me- who will never forget their story while I continue to tell my own.